NTSB Identification: LAX96FA139.
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Accident occurred Friday, March 22, 1996 in MORENO VALLEY, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/23/1997
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-140, registration: N17D
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The accident site was in an area of mountainous terrain. Impact occurred on the side of a 3,100 foot mountain at an elevation of about 2000 feet. Witnesses said the aircraft made several steep turns, as well as several climbs and descents as it was flying in and out of the clouds. It was last observed heading in the direction of the accident site. The aircraft wings rocked from side to side just before reentering the clouds. A few seconds later, the witnesses heard the sound of the aircraft striking terrain. After impact, there were no further engine sounds. The base of a cloud layer obscured the accident site and top of the mountain. The pilot obtained a weather briefing before departure, and he was advised that an AIRMET was in effect concerning mountain obscuration in clouds, fog and precipitation, and for occasional moderate turbulence below 15,000 feet. The pilot possessed an FAA commercial certificate, which was based on a Swiss commercial certificate, but no record of an instrument rating was found.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

VFR flight by the noninstrument-rated pilot into instrument meteorological conditions (IMC). The terrain and adverse weather conditions were related factors.

Full narrative available

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